Democratic Socialists launch NSW campaign
By Jonathan Singer
SYDNEY — The Democratic Socialists launched their election campaign for Sydney seats in the March 27 state election with two well-attended functions on February 26. At the Parramatta Resistance Centre, 30 supporters attended, while in Sydney central 60 people participated. The events raised funds for the election campaign and supporters volunteered to assist with letterboxing, postering and staffing stalls.
The Parramatta launch featured greetings from the Australian Kurdish Association and a toast to the struggle of the Kurdish people for national liberation. Kylie Moon, standing in the seat of Parramatta, and Shane Bentley, candidate for Auburn, explained why socialists are taking part in the election.
Participants came from a variety of backgrounds, including Latin America, India, the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq and the Iraqi-Kurdish women's organisation.
The central Sydney launch was addressed by Dr Tuntuni Bhattacharyya, the Democratic Socialists' candidate for Marrickville, who spoke about health issues, racism and women's rights. She strongly criticised the sitting member for Marrickville, Labor health minister Dr Andrew Refshauge, for closing the Redfern needle exchange. She also highlighted the issue of discrimination against doctors trained overseas, some of whom are currently protesting against their treatment with a hunger strike outside NSW Parliament House.
Candidates Stephanie Roper (Strathfield) and Dr Jim Green (Heffron), a prominent anti-nuclear campaigner, also spoke. Roper emphasised the inadequacy of youth services, the outrageous "law and order" push by the major parties which scapegoats young people for social problems, and the inadequate resources allocated by the government to combat homophobia.
Green criticised the present and previous governments for failing to respond to criticisms and concerns about the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor. He pointed out that state and federal governments continue to pursue a pro-nuclear agenda despite overwhelming public opposition.
One of the Democratic Socialists' candidates for the Legislative Council, Dr Helen Jarvis, wound up the evening by describing the struggle by the National Tertiary Education Industry Union over the latest enterprise agreement. She encouraged all supporters of social and environmental justice to support the Democratic Socialists' campaign. If you can help, phone Shane or Kylie (Auburn and Parramatta) on 9635 8449, or Sam or Tom on 9690 1977 (Strathfield, Heffron, Port Jackson and Marrickville).